2016 THE YEAR OF THE DELAY - SERIES INTRODUCTION May 25 2016, 1 Comment
Why is it that every time a new Delay is announced, especially if it’s of the analog nature, the gear nerds of the world lose their minds? Outsiders could be forgiven for thinking that one delay is much like another, that once an effect is created it’s done, no need to rehash, no need to better it. Using that logic then we should all still be writing letters with pen and paper, boiling our water over open fires and winding up the front of our cars before each trip.
Well that’s not happening… Technology progresses, that’s the way the human race works. But this industry has gone one step further, builders are using cutting edge algorithms to make stuff sound old and unpredictable. With the acceleration of DSP technology over the last decade, sound crafting has become so in depth that the gap between analog and digital is steadily decreasing. The sometimes dark, sometimes dirty, character rich tones of old units like the Binson Echorec Drum Echo, Tel-Ray Oilcan Delay, Maestro Echoplex Tape Delay and classic vintage analog units like the Boss DM-2 and the EHX Deluxe Memory Man are now being emulated fantastically. However, to a similar degree, the manipulation of true analog circuitry via a digital platform has reached an unprecedented level.
Enter 2016 The Year of the Delay! This year is turning out to be one of the most fruitful we’ve seen in a decade for delay releases. At Winter Namm, according to Bart Provoost of effectsdatabase.com (he’s a pretty thorough guy), there have been no less than 20 delays announced. Brands you’ll probably recognise like Catalinbread, Earthquaker Devices and Keeley have releases but also a slew of incredible inventions from up and coming builders like Alexander Pedals, Sinvertek and Decibel Eleven. But easily the most anticipated of them all is the Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall. Not since the release of the Strymon Timeline in 2011 has there been such excitement surrounding a delay.
But back to my first question, why are we all so obsessed with these little boxes that are essentially the pet parrots of the pedal world? I don’t know about everyone else but I love playing less and making a pedal do the work. Something about dialling in some washy repeats and making my guitar sound more like a keyboard, or setting up a syncopated rhythm like a dotted eighth and dancing around the frets in-between the repeats just makes me happy. Also, all the tasty algorithms available these days means that me and the guy next to me on stage can have the same pedal and sound worlds apart, it’s so easy to have an individual delay tone that compliments your personal playing style now. Add MIDI implementation into the mix and it seems that the horizon for delay possibility just got blown open by a country mile.
I’m excited for what’s to come, the conventional and the whacky, and I hope you are too. Stay tuned and subscribe to this blog for demos and reviews on a bunch of the delays reaching our shores this year. The fruits of our exploration will be great, lets celebrate Delay, the gift that keeps on giving, together!